For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20


Isaiah 65-66

Isaiah 65

Judgments and Promises

1 “I was sought by those who did not ask for me.
I was found by those who did not seek me.
I said, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’
to a nation that was not called by my name.
2 All day I have opened my arms to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
after their own thoughts,
3 a people who provoke me to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens,
and burning incense on bricks,
4 who sit among the graves,
and spend nights in secret places,
who eat pig’s meat,
and the broth of abominable things is in their bowls,
5 who say, ‘Keep your distance from me,
do not come near to me,
for I am holier than you.’
These people are smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all day.

6 It is written before me:
I will not stand still,
but will repay,
yes, I will repay them in full,
7 your own sins and the sins of your fathers together,” says the Lord,
“who have burned pagan incense on the mountains
and blasphemed me on the hills.
Therefore I will pay them in full measure for their deeds.”

8 The Lord says,

“As the new wine is found in the cluster
and one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it,’
so I will do for my servants’ sake
and not destroy all of them.
9 I will bring offspring out of Jacob
and out of Judah an heir of my mountains.
My chosen will inherit it,
and my servants will dwell there.
10 Sharon will be a fold of flocks
and the valley of Achor,
a place for herds to lie down,
for my people who have sought me.

11 But you who forsake the Lord,
who forget my holy mountain,
who prepare a table for Fortune,
and who fill up mixed wine to Destiny;
12 I will destine you for the sword,
and you will all bow down to be slaughtered,
because when I called, you did not answer.
When I spoke, you did not listen,
but you did that which was evil in my sight,
and made choices which did not please me.”

13 Therefore the Lord God says,

“My servants will eat,
but you will be hungry.
My servants will drink,
but you will be thirsty.
My servants will rejoice,
but you will be disappointed.
14 My servants will sing with a joyful heart,
but you will cry with a sorrowful heart
and will wail with an anguished spirit.

15 Your name will be remembered
as a curse to my chosen,
and the Lord God will kill you.
He will call his servants by another name,
16 so that whoever on earth blesses himself
will bless himself by the God of truth,
and whoever on the earth swears
will swear by the God of truth.
because the former troubles are forgotten
and because they are hidden from my eyes.

17 For I am creating a new heaven and a new earth,
and the former things will not be remembered,
nor come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I am creating,
for I am creating Jerusalem to be a delight
and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and delight in my people,
and the sound of weeping and the sound of crying
will no longer be heard in her.

20 No longer will there be an infant who only lives a few days,
nor an old man who has not fulfilled all his days,
for the child will die 100 years old,
and the sinner, being 100 years old, will be cursed.
21 They will build houses and inhabit them.
They will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They will not build for another to live in.
They will not plant for another to eat,
for the days of my people will be like the days of a tree,
and my chosen will long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain
nor bear children with troubled destinies,
for they are the offspring of the blessed of the Lord
and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call, I will answer,
and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will eat together.
The lion will eat straw like the ox,
but the serpent’s food will be dust.
No one will be hurt or destroyed
anywhere on my holy mountain,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 66

Heaven is My Throne

1 The Lord says,

“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house could you build me,
where I would rest?
2 For my hand has made all of these things,
and so all these things came to be,” says the Lord.

“But I will look upon this man:
he who is poor and contrite in spirit
and who trembles at my word.

3 But the one who kills an ox like one who kills a man,
who sacrifices a lamb like he who breaks a dog’s neck,
who offers an offering like he who offers pig’s blood,
who burns frankincense like he who blesses an idol,
indeed, they have chosen their own ways
and delight in their abominations.
4 I will choose their delusions
and will bring what they fear upon them,
because when I called, no one answered.
When I spoke, they did not listen,
but they did that which was evil in my eyes,
and chose that with which I was not pleased.”

5 Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word:

“Your brothers who hate you,
who cast you out for my name’s sake,
have said,‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy,’
but it is them who will be disappointed.
6 Listen! A sound of tumult is coming from the city,
a sound from the temple,
the sound of the Lord repaying his enemies what they deserve.

Rejoice with Jerusalem

7 “Before she was in labor, Zion gave birth.
Before her pain came, she delivered a son.
8 Who has heard of such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Could a land be born in one day?
Could a nation be born all at once?
For as soon as Zion’s labor began,
she gave birth to her children.
9 Would I bring to the point of birth,
and not deliver?” says the Lord.
“Would I who cause birth shut the womb?”
says your God.

10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem,
and be glad for her,
all you who love her.
Rejoice with her,
all you who mourn over her.
11 that you may nurse and be satisfied
at comforting breasts,
that you may drink deeply,
and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.”

12 For the Lord says,

“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations
like an overflowing stream,
and you will nurse.
You will be carried on her side,
and will be dandled on her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you.
You will be comforted in Jerusalem.”

14 You will see it, and your heart shall rejoice,
and your bones will flourish like the tender grass.
The hand of the Lord will be known among his servants,
and he will have indignation against his enemies.

God’s Final Judgments against the Wicked

15 For the Lord will come with fire,
and his chariots will be like the whirlwind,
to render his anger with fierceness,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For the Lord will execute judgment by fire
and by his sword on all flesh,
and those slain by the Lord will be many.

17 “Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves to go to pagan gardens, behind one in their midst eating pig’s meat, abominable things, and the mouse: they shall come to an end together,” says the Lord.

18 “For I know their works and their thoughts. The time is coming when I will gather all nations and languages, and they will come and will see my glory.

19 I will set a sign among them, and I will send those of them who escape, to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to far-away islands, who have not heard my fame, nor have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 They shall bring all your brothers out of all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules, and on camels, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, as the Israelites bring their offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. 21 Of them I will also select priests and Levites,” says the Lord.

22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth,
which I will make, shall remain before me,” says the Lord,
“so your offspring and your name shall remain.
23 It will happen that from one new moon to another,
and from one Sabbath to another,
all flesh will come to worship before me,” says the Lord.

24 “They will go out and look at the dead bodies
of the men who have transgressed against me,
for their worm will not die,
nor will their fire be quenched,
and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Philippians 3

Righteousness through Faith

1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! To write the same things to you, indeed is not tiresome to me, but for you it is a safeguard.

2 Beware of the dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I myself might have had confidence in the flesh.

If any man thinks that he has cause for confidence in the flesh, I have yet more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless.

Knowing Christ is Above All

7 However, I consider those things that were gain to me as a loss for Christ. 8 Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord. For him I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. 10 My purpose is that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death, 11 if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained it, or am already made perfect, but I press on, that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

13 Brothers, I do not regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forward to the things which are ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, think this way. If in anything you think otherwise, God will also reveal that to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the extent that we have already attained it, let us walk by the same rule. Let us be of the same mind.

Press on Toward the Goal

17 Brothers, be imitators together of me and note those who walk this way, just as you have us for an example. 18 For many walk, of whom I told you often and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who think about earthly things.

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able, to subject all things to himself.

Psalm 74

Why Have You Rejected Us Forever?

A contemplation by Asaph.

1 Why, O God, have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smolder
against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember your congregation,
which you purchased of old,
which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your inheritance:
Mount Zion, in which you have lived.
3 Turn your steps toward the endless ruins,
all the evil that the enemy has done in the sanctuary.

4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of your assembly.
They have set up their banners as signs.
5 They behaved like men wielding axes,
cutting through a thicket of trees.
6 Now they break all its carved work down with hatchet and hammers.
7 They have burned your sanctuary to the ground.
They have profaned the dwelling place of your Name.

8 They said in their heart, “We will crush them completely.”
They have burned up all the places in the land where God was worshiped.
9 We see no miraculous signs.
There is no longer any prophet,
nor is there among us anyone who knows how long.
10 How long, O God, shall the adversary reproach?
Shall the enemy blaspheme your name forever?
11 Why do you draw back your hand, your powerful right hand?
Take it from your chest and consume them!

12 Yet God is my King of old,
working salvation throughout the earth.
13 You divided the sea by your strength.
You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces.
You gave him as food to people and desert creatures.
15 You opened up spring and stream.
You dried up mighty rivers.
16 The day is yours, the night is also yours.
You have prepared the light and the sun.
17 You have set all the boundaries of the earth.
You have made summer and winter.

18 Remember this, that the enemy has mocked you, O Lord.
Foolish people have blasphemed your name.
19 Do not deliver the soul of your dove to wild beasts.
Do not forget the life of your poor forever.
20 Honor your covenant,
for haunts of violence fill the dark places of the earth.
21 Do not let the oppressed return ashamed.
Let the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Arise, O God! Plead your own cause.
Remember how the foolish man mocks you all day.
23 Do not forget the voice of your adversaries.
The tumult of those who rise up against you ascends continually.

Proverbs 24:15-16

15 Do not lay in wait, wicked man, against the home of the righteous.
Do not destroy his resting place.
16 For a righteous man falls seven times and rises up again,
but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.

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